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RI GOP Primary Candidates Have a Trump Problem

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All Republican Candidates Supportive of the Trump Agenda

With Allan Fung and Patricia Morgan officially in the race for Rhode Island governor, and Joe Trillo expected to get in soon, it’s clear Trump will play a big role in the primary. As the candidates rolled out their campaigns this week, Trump came up again and again.
But as Cook Political Report’s Jennifer Duffy puts it, a Trumpy primary is bad news come the general election:
“The real problem a [GOP] candidate in Rhode Island faces will be a primary where voters still support Trump. This makes it hard for him/her to put too much distance with Trump, which in turn doesn’t give them a lot of room to pivot in the general election, where Trump will become heavy baggage.  
And as predicted, the candidates are hugging Trump at their own peril.
Trillo was the honorary Chairman of Trump’s campaign in Rhode Island and has rushed to Trump’s defense many times. Meanwhile, Fung and Morgan have both voiced support for Trump’s extreme legislative agenda.
Fung said he agreed with Betsy DeVos when she was going through the confirmation process. He lamented the execution of Trump’s travel ban, rather than the policy. He ducked questions when Trump ended DACA, and told minorities to “work harder” after the events in Charlottesville.
And Morgan voiced support for Trump’s tax plan, and endorsed Trumpcare despite the damage it would cause Rhode Island’s budget.
“Fung, Morgan, and Trillo’s embrace of Trump is going to come back to bite whoever ends up winning,” said Jared Leopold. “All of them have made it clear they stand with the president, even when his policies harm Rhode Islanders. Hugging Trump may be a good strategy to win a primary, but it’s just plain bad for Rhode Island.”